The New York Knicks have more reasons than ever to oppose Kyrie Irving.
Despite leaving the crosstown rival, Irving is joining the Mavericks, who are transferring their first-round pick to the Knicks this year. It is their final compensation for trading Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas in 2019. In other words, Irving’s failures, distractions, and general dysfunctionality can help the Knicks draught a better player.
Alternatively, Irving’s brilliance on the court may make the pick less valuable. The Mavericks, who agreed to trade Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, and a first-round pick for Irving, are counting on him to make them a contender. They believe Irving will be motivated to prove his worth because he will be a free agent at the end of the season.
“The more pressure (on him), the better,” according to a source.
It’s a risky bet because Irving is as dependable as milk on the morning of its expiration date, but he’s certainly capable of propelling the Mavericks (28-26, sixth in the West) up the standings. That’s bad news for the Knicks, but coach Tom Thibodeau refused to comment on the trade.
“That would be a follow-up question,” the coach explained.
When asked about the trade, James Harden, who forced a trade away from the Nets just a year ago, was equally unhelpful.
“It was a trade,” he explained.
Harden could have gloated all he wanted. He was portrayed as the villain in Brooklyn, but he escaped first. Irving and Kevin Durant have both requested trades since then (Durant issued his trade request in the summer, and it was denied).